The cultural societies’ search for rehearsal space on campus is difficult and slow says University Council member Daemon Ferlucci. He is one of those heading the search. As former board member of theatre group WILDe and vice president of the Erasmus Dance Society (EDS), he has experienced how hard it is for the societies. “They are always looking for places. It becomes a vicious circle whereby societies have difficulty finding space because they don’t have much budget, so can’t increase the number of members, meaning the budget stays small.” EDS falls under sport and is one of the few societies to have permanent facilities. It is consequently much bigger than other cultural societies on campus, Ferlucci explains.

Sports centre not a solution

The university council member got the subject onto the agenda and is trying to find a solution for the current problems. One of the options might have been the old sports centre, which will be repurposed thanks to the new complex opposite Hatta. Unfortunately, it did not prove to be suitable because exams will also be held there. With that solution off the table, the Services Management department has started creating an overview of the situation.

Frederieke Hoitink, programme manager at Studium Generale, also hopes that rehearsal areas will become available for the societies. “This is a problem that has been around since I started here 25 years ago,” she says. The societies found temporary solutions with external organisations or in the Erasmus MC, for example, but there have never been structural facilities. “The Pavilion is amazing for shows, but it’s not financially viable to use that space for rehearsals too.”


Despite the current problem, the programme manager understands why it’s difficult to find a solution. Hoitink: “It’s hard to accommodate an orchestra on the campus due the size, and noise nuisance also plays a role.” And she doesn’t feel it’s possible to put a theatre group or musicians next to a lecture room without disrupting the education. Nevertheless, she continues to work for the societies: “If we work together, we should find something. We did it with The Living Room on the Erasmus Plaza. The urgency which that project had would do wonders for the difficult situation of cultural societies.”

That urgency seems to exist now, at least for Daisy Zevenbergen from the Service Management department. One of her responsibilities is allocating rooms to the cultural societies, and she says that there is very little space left on campus. She has also requested more details from the societies. Zevenbergen: “We need an overview of what they currently need, so that we can focus on a suitable solution. And the ‘official’ status of the societies is not always clear, which is important for the long term. A society that has been recognised by EUR will have more rights than external groups and is in a better position to lobby for space in new buildings.”

Once she has received this information from the societies, the solution will be a step closer. However, it will clearly take a while before culture finds good accommodation on the campus.


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